23 June 2004

The Struggle for Free Speech - What We're Teaching "Our" Kids

You gotta give this kid credit for sticking up for his rights. He wanted to protest the political indoctrination he was receiving by putting posters around his school.

So, why the big hub-bub? Because he's a conservative, hawkish protester, not a liberal, anti-war protester. Shenanigans ensues and, predictably, his voice is silenced. For now. But, the story of his brief struggle with the school is a great illustration about why free speech is supposed to apply to everyone.

Link [via Blogcritics]

21 June 2004

Real Player without all the crap

Thanks to Boing Boing.

Hate RealPlayer? So did the BBC, enough that Real made a version of RealPlayer without all the crap that normally comes with it.. You can download it here (for Windows) or here for others.

18 June 2004

Way to go Grand Haven!

I don't know who runs Ottawa Wireless, but good on yah, boys! These geniuses (and for once I'm not being sarcastic) set up a WiFi network to cover six square miles of the city (I'm assuming this means downtown and the lakeshore). Unlimited calls to anyone in Canada or the US for $30 a month (plus a WiFi phone). Looks like they also have high-speed WiFi Internet starting at $20 a month.

Who thought that the West side was so with it? Certainly not me.

via Engadget (!)

16 June 2004

Pistons Win! Pistons Win!

I don't know why I'm so excited; I didn't watch a single game.



In other news, a few rowdy fans did manage to tip over... Aretha Franklin (gratuitously stolen from Chick McGee on the Bob and Tom Show, 16 June 2004)



Ah, that's why I needed to post.

14 June 2004

National Weather Service has RSS

It's officially a Good Thing (TM). Just choose your state and get a list of RSS weather feeds. Looks like it only gives current conditions right now.

Link

I knew I didn't like Garfield for a reason

Ug, the character really is a marketing scheme, not a labor of love.

Link

10 June 2004

Googling for fun and profit

As part of my job (seriously), I had to compose an image of someone stretching. So, I hit Google Image Search and type in my keyword: stretch.


What I found was that you probably don't want to put "stretch" into GIS; it's not a pretty world. Well, it kind of is, until you get to the fourth row of results. And this is with SafeSearch on


(NOTE The following link, while to Google, is most likely the reason my internet account is now under review by Corporate IT. In other words, it is NSFW.


See for yourself

Information wants to be free

In my continuing struggle to wake up into the current world around me, I stumbled across a little utility called Hymn that strips the draconian DRM from music purchased via iTunes so you can play them on non-authorized computers (you know, the other machines you use in the course of the day).



This is great because now, if I want to, I can play music I purchased on iTunes on my work computer, since I can't a)download iTunes here and even if I could b) the site is blocked by other draconian measures such as site blocking (*gasp* He wants to look at SPORTS?!?!? On his LUNCH?!? NEVER!).



Link [via Gizmodo]

08 June 2004

Free images (as in beer and royalties)

Ah, I love the web....



Link

The New Defeatism

We do have a grave problem in this country, but it is not the plan for Iraq, the neoconservatives, or targeting Saddam. Face it: This present generation of leaders at home would never have made it to Normandy Beach. They would instead have called off the advance to hold hearings on Pearl Harbor, cast around blame for the Japanese internment, sued over the light armor and guns of Sherman tanks, apologized for bombing German civilians, and recalled General Eisenhower to Washington to explain the rough treatment of Axis prisoners.

We are becoming a crazed culture of cheap criticism and pious moralizing, and in our self-absorption may well lose what we inherited from a better generation. Our groaning and hissing elite indulges itself, while better but forgotten folks risk their lives on our behalf in pretty horrible places.

Judging from our newspapers, we seem to care little about the soldiers while they are alive and fighting, but we suddenly put their names on our screens and speak up when a dozen err or die. And, in the latter case, our concern is not out of respect for their sacrifice but more likely a protest against what we don't like done in our name. So ABC's Nightline reads the names of the fallen from Iraq, but not those from the less controversial Afghanistan, because ideological purity — not remembering the departed per se — is once again the real aim.


The rest of the article is equally offensive and crass. Awesome stuff.



Link [via r21]

June is Homeownership month?

Who knew? So, when is Two-Left Feet Month? Or Bad Taste in Music Month? (Wait, that might be December.)

Link

05 June 2004

Ronald Reagan dies at 93

Politics aside, Ronald Reagan was the first real politician that I was aware of growing up. I don't remember his first election well, but I do remember his terms as President. He was, until I was 13, the only President I knew. Someone like that always leaves an impression.



And, while they will miss him, I'm sure his family takes comfort in knowing that his suffering is over and his memories are his again in the Great Beyond.



Link

04 June 2004

Woo Hoo! (for the fourth time)

Amazon is taking orders for the Simpsons 4th season. We're finally getting into the good ones: Mr. Plow, The Simpsons Clip Show, and Whacking Day. Must... pre... order...

Link

03 June 2004

Flash Drives

Well, that just burns me. I bought one of the lowest performers the lowest performer. Damn it.


Thanks to Ars Technica for, once again, doing all the work none of us can afford to do.



Link (or go to the comparison chart)

01 June 2004

Tool whore

Yeah, I'm a tool whore. I can admit it. I love new, shiney, wonderfully bloated software. Well, maybe not bloated, but shiney and new, definately. It's even better when it's free.


Which brings me to the point of this post. I switched blogging tools, again. To Zempt. Yes, Earth-shattering stuff, but this is a pretty cool and free (as in beer). Hell, it's only at version 0.3 and it's better than the other blogging tool. Check it out.

Oh, in unrelated news, anchor tags should now display underlines and hover properties. I finally got around to inspecting the style-sheet I downloaded and noticed the evil text-decoration : none line. Why people do that is beyond me. If I were a better person, I'd redo this damn thing on my own. But I'm not, so I won't.

iPod

I finally caved in (actually, I finally convinced my other half) and got an iPod. 20GB baby! I have more hard drive space on my iPod than on my desktop computer at work. Twice as much, actually. Unbelievable.


For the longest time, I was skeptical about iPods. Seriously, how could something like a music player be worth $500? Of course, I said the same thing when I bought a portable, rugged CD player in college ($100?? Come on.) I had to lose that thing before I quit using it.


So, I bought the iPod for exercising. Honestly. I know I will ride or work out more just because I have music. It worked before and I need to do something with this gut. What I didn't think about was that I have all my music with me all the time. Where and whenever I can safely and comfortably carry this little device, I have every song I own with me. I converted all my CDs to MP3 long ago, but I lacked the other component of digital music; portability. Sure, I could burn a CD of MP3s and bring that to work with WinAmp, but that's not portable. I'm still tied to a desktop. With a portable device, I'm starting to get the portable music thing. I know, I'm a swift one.


I don't want to sound like a fanboy, but it really is a cool little gadget. Adding the iTrip will hopefully be a good investment, too. I need to play with it a little more, but our radio spetrum here seems to be really packed.

Reference checking

I'm not a dishonest person, in reality or by reputation. But I do have the occasional dishonest inkling. For instance, a former co-worker, sometimes friend of mine is being considered for a job in the armed forces which requires a security clearance. Part of getting this clearance involves someone from the DoD interviewing references.


As I said, I'm not dishonest, but seriously, if anyone has ever been denied clearance or a position through the interviewing process, who are they and what, exactly, kind of idiot are they? I'm not following the thought process that makes someone provide the name of a potential deal-breaker in a list of people they know is going to be asked about the candidate's past.


Candidate: "I know, I'll tell them to talk to Ryan."


DoD Badge-Flasher: "Ryan, is Candidate trustworthy?"


Ryan: "Oh, hell yeah. Candidate's been holding my stash for a while, you know, until the heat dies down. Wait, if you're asking, does that mean Candidate's not? That's what you think, right? Damn it! I knew it! What happened to my stash?!?"


Not that I sunk my former co-worker, sometimes friend. For what I knew, a stand-up all-around All-American kid. But the process itself makes you wonder how someone, somewhere justified this.


Of course, I'm probably missing some depressingly simple aspect (like body language, eye movements and the like) that are "tells". If that's the case then I probably blew it. I long ago stopped reacting like I'm supposed to to questions. It really throws people off. Tell them the truth but then look all around. Really throws off people who have read certain books.